I continue to coordinate a series of Design Challenges for the Energy Innovation Center (EIC). The program includes high school students from the Parkway West consortium of schools. For the winter term three student teams will work on “A Safety Plan” and another team of three schools will work on a Design Challenge that focuses on the development of a “food kit” for the Energy Innovation Center. For both Design Challenges the EIC has enlisted the help of a series of experts to guide the process. For the Safety Plan the Community of College from Allegheny County (CCAC) is sharing its Director of Safety and Security, while SimTable, a breakthrough technology for safety incident training and modeling, will provide its technologies for the student consultants to use. For the Food Kit Design Challenge Chatham University’s CRAFT team will assist the students as well as 412 Food Rescue. Both projects demonstrate the power of real world learning with teams of experts working with the student consultants from the kick-off to the final presentations. I’m hoping that the Design Challenge project will be one of the ten Spotlight on Innovation projects selected by Remake Learning to present at the HundrED Conference in Helsinki in November 2019.
This winter I returned to Carnegie Mellon University to teach an Osher course for life-long learners. The course focuses on the CoSN K-12 Driving Innovation project. The Driving Innovation project is an update of the Horizon Report. Instead of one major report, there are now three small reports looking at innovation in K-12 – Hurdles, Accelerators, and Enhanced Technology. Each week in the class I’ve invited colleagues to join me. My cast of experts includes:
- Justin Aglio from the Montour School District looking at Artificial Intelligence in K-12 Education;
- Tom Lauwers from Birdbrain Technologies demonstrating the creative power of robotics for learners;
- Jason Swanson from KnowledgeWorks and Chris Sweeney the coordinator of the Pittsburgh Personalized Learning Network highlighting Personalization;
- and Aileen Owens from South Fayette explaining how to Sustain and Scale Innovation.
During the upcoming months I hope to work with the Community Day School, Fort Cherry, and some of the Parkway West Schools on a Sustainable Energy project connected to technology from AYA Instruments. Last year AYA provided training for one of the Parkway West teachers to use a monitoring system with solar panels. This year we expect to see some of the Parkway West students install a Discovery Zone at their home school and maintain the system based on their training at Parkway West. The Community Day School in Pittsburgh plans to install a Discovery Zone this year and share data with other schools, including Fort Cherry which already has a Discovery Zone in place.